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polyhedrocyte

Cellular Shape-Shifters to the Rescue

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Red angular lumps mixed with yellow strands and blue blobs

Caption: Angular red blood cells, called polyhedrocytes, held together by platelets (blue) and fibrin protein (yellow).
Credit: John Weisel, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Just as superheroes often change their forms to save the day, so it seems do red blood cells as they mobilize to heal a wound. Red blood cells usually look like oval, bi-concave discs, but NIH-funded researchers recently discovered that they are actually talented shape-shifters.